According to a recent report on attn.com, a new study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University has found that acetaminophen isn’t simply the innocent little helper that we all think it is. The active ingredient reduces our pain but it also takes a psychological toll on our minds by making us less likely to empathize with others- even those suffering from a similar type of pain.
Researchers conducted three varying experiments with college students to come to their conclusions. The first experiment had participants read about painful scenarios and rate the pain experienced by the hypothetical people in the story, and the second had individuals listen to loud sound blasts for small amounts of time and rate the unpleasantness of the experience.
Participants were asked to rate how unenjoyable the sounds were for themselves, and how unpleasant they would imagine them to be for others.
The final experiment involved rating emotional pain. It had participants watch a video in which three participants known to the others, interacted. In the scenario, two of the participants excluded the third and viewers were asked to rate how that person might feel.
In each experiment, participants who took a measured dose of Tylenol before taking part in the activities rated the pain experienced by themselves and by others as less than the control group.
Is this weird or expected? In a way the results make sense, as they prove that Tylenol works.
But if you think about it, in actuality they indicate that once a person taking acetaminophen experiences less pain, they forget they had to take a Tylenol to reduce their pain in the first place. The person empathizes less with others who are experiencing the same pain, unassisted.
Why does this happen?
“We think that Tylenol is blocking existential unease in the same way it prevents pain, because a similar neurological process is responsible for both types of distress,” said Daniel Randles, author of a 2013 study involving Tylenol and moral judgements.
Does ibuprofen do the same thing? Sounds like the affects are just linked to pain killers, and not anti-inflammatory drugs.
So, if you want to feel the emotions of the game, but not the pain of the ankle you just twisted on the field, try taking an Advil instead.